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Movers and Shakers: Athens' Council Members

 

Athens City Council is the legislative power of the city. It comprises eight citizens, three of whom are elected by the city at large and four who are elected by different wards of the city. Jim Sands is the council’s president, proceeding over the meetings and voting only to split a rare tie. All eight are currently Democrats. They meet once a week at the City Building at 8 E. Washington St., and meetings are open to the public.

JIM SANDS, COUNCIL PRESIDENT

Serves as the head of council. Sands oversees the council and ensures all meetings run smoothly.

Contact him at: jsands@ci.athens.oh.us

FOUR MEMBERS REPRESENT DIFFERENT WARDS OF THE CITY (ALL INCLUDE PARTS OF OHIO UNIVERSITY’S CAMPUS):

KENT BUTLER, FIRST WARD:

Butler serves as the chair of the City and Safety Services Committee and is also a member of the Finance and Personnel Committee.

Contact him at: kbutler@ci.athens.oh.us

JEFF RISNER, SECOND WARD:

Risner represents the south side of Athens, the most highly populated area of the city. In the past, Risner has focused on preventing hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, outside the city and has worked to pass the resolution adopted by council to strip corporations of human rights. He is a member of the Planning and Development Committee. 

Contact him at: jrisner@ci.athens.oh.us

MICHELE PAPAI, THIRD WARD:

Papai, who is serving her first term on council, is a member of the Transportation Committee, which handles issues such as street maintenance and repair, and event closings.

Contact her at: mpapai@ci.athens.oh.us

CHRIS FAHL, FOURTH WARD:

Fahl serves as the chair of the Planning and Development Committee, which deals with environmental issues, land development, liquor permits, zoning, revocable licenses and the city’s Comprehensive Plan. She has contributed to tightening up certain guidelines for development, fracking ordinances, and the Wellhead Protection plan.

Contact her at: cfahl@ci.athens.oh.us

THREE REPRESENT THE CITY AT LARGE:

STEVE PATTERSON:

Patterson is a member of the City and Safety Services Committee, responsible for issues involving the fire and police departments, garbage and recycling, and water and recreation. A psychology professor at Ohio University, Patterson is the chair of the Joint Police Advisory Council, where he works with Ohio University students and staff, Athens residents, the Athens Police Department and the Ohio University Police Department to address safety issues within the city. 

Contact him at: spatterson@ci.athens.oh.us

CHRIS KNISELY:

Knisely is the chair of the Finance and Personnel Committee, which focuses on General Fund, personnel and proprietary issues. Under this position, she said she is in charge of moving finances forward and figuring out ways to invest in bigger city projects. This past year, for instance, she worked with Ohio University on the reconstruction of the Oxbow Bridge. Knisely said one of her main objectives is to maintain the appearance of Athens, with a focus on keeping the streets safe and clean.

Contact her at: cknisely@ci.athens.oh.us

ELAHU GOSNEY:

Gosney is the Chair of the Transportation Committee and a graduate student at Ohio University. He said his main responsibilities include prioritizing city spending based on infrastructure improvements, and his goal has been to make the city government more progressive. He has said he will not seek re-election this year.

Contact him at: egosney@ci.athens.oh.us

 

kg278810@ohiou.edu

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